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"Far From 'Killer' Entertainment"
1 stars
Jack Sommersby says... "Released straight to home video, and it's not hard to see why." (more)
"Cambodia, two generations later."
4 stars
Jay Seaver says... "SCREENED AT INDEPENDENT FILM FESTIVAL BOSTON 2015: It's a weird thing to admit, but having seen a documentary or two about the Khmer Rouge a couple months back, and not regularly hearing much about Cambodia as it is now compared to those horror stories, it's easy to think of the country still being on that state, or just coming out of it. That was part of the draw of "Angkor's Children" - to see Cambodia in the present tense - and it's an enjoyable way to do so." (more)
"aka Under the Silicone."
5 stars
Brett Gallman says... "“Ex Machina” is a great film about deceptive surfaces. At nearly every level—from its plots, to its themes, to its characters, to its set design—it feels designed to misdirect and divert. It’s the sort of film that invites audiences to toy with it, only to reveal it’s been doing the toying all along." (more)
"Nothing artificial about the intelligence here."
4 stars
Greg Ursic says... "It was 1986, and as university students will do, we were sitting in our floor lounge discussing profound subjects and trying to outthink one another. The subject turned to Reagan’s proposed “Star Wars” project and we took turns shooting it to pieces because everything from the nuclear powered lasers to antimatter weapons that formed the backbone of the system bordered on science fiction. We then turned to the ridiculousness of the super computer needed to control the entire thing seamlessly – as the current pc’s were essentially glorified typewriters that could render a wire drawing of a shuttlecraft if you left it alone for several hours (and it didn’t crash). It was at this point that Sean, the smartest human I’ve ever known, noted -without the slightest hint of sarcasm - “but once they’ve cracked artificial intelligence, anything is possible. That is of course until the machines realize we’re unnecessary and wipe us out. “ Flash forward three decades, and the notion of a true AI system has become plausible, so much so that legions of the world’s brightest minds have banded together to demand oversight before we let the genie out of the bottle. The question is will we learn before the machines do?" (more)
"Undercover overseen."
4 stars
Jay Seaver says... "SCREENED AT INDEPENDENT FILM FESTIVAL BOSTON 2015: I suspect that many watching "(T)error", even with plentiful assurances to the contrary, will be expecting that, by the end, a curtain will be pulled back to reveal the film as fictitious, heavy on re-enactments, or some other kind of put-on; it seems like the only way that the scenario makes sense. If it is, then the filmmakers are playing things very close to the vest, and the fact that it can exist at all can be as damming as anything it actually shows." (more)
"A western that follows its own trail."
4 stars
Jay Seaver says... "SCREENED AT INDEPENDENT FILM FESTIVAL BOSTON 2015: I am not sure whether John Maclean narrowly misses the tone he's going for with "Slow West" or hits it dead-on; even considering that westerns are relatively rare these days, this one feels a little different. I consider that no bad thing, especially since the film co-stars Michael Fassbender, who should be in westerns whenever he's got the chance." (more)
"Surely you jest."
3 stars
Jay Seaver says... "SCREENED AT INDEPENDENT FILM FESTIVAL BOSTON 2015: There are a lot of things that can be done with David Lipsky's interview of David Foster Wallace, and I don't think that a movie is at the top of the list. The magazine article it was originally intended for would supply analysis and context; a play might distill it; heck, animation might illuminate it. It would take a more ambitious movie than "The End of the Tour" to do much more than simply present it, and these people seem to deserve more." (more)
"Time Won't Let Her"
4 stars
Peter Sobczynski says... ""The Age of Adaline" is a romantic fantasy that appears to have been constructed out out of portions of "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button," any random Nicolas Sparks novel and a coffee table book of "Vogue" fashion layouts from over the years run through a duck press so as to fuse them together, however haphazardly, into one single narrative. Not surprisingly, the final product is pretty much as ridiculous as can be and will no doubt be slammed by most observers as being little more than shamelessly manipulative claptrap. And yet, while I cannot argue that it is anything other than complete nonsense from beginning to end, I must confess to feeling a certain amount of affection for it nevertheless thanks to a couple of strong performances, some stylish filmmaking and the occasional willingness on its part to recognize just how goofy the entire enterprise is." (more)
"An Unctuous Battle of the Sexes"
2 stars
Jack Sommersby says... "Kate Nelligan and Donald Sutherland do what they can, but they're handicapped by the dunderheaded writing and poor directing." (more)
"A fairy tale that's gone a bit weird."
4 stars
Jay Seaver says... "Everything about Paul Grimault's animated feature "The King and the Mockingbird" is peculiar, from its extended gestation (it was started in 1948 and finally released in 1980) to its unusual self-referentiality to a finale full of bizarre French humor and things one does not expect in a movie based upon a Hans Christian Andersen story. It is a weirdly delightful film playing a few dates after having been recently restored, one animation fans should check out should they get the chance." (more)

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